Monday, February 23, 2009

Teach Me to Pray - part 3

If you tried that exercise in my last post, you discovered that the "model-prayer" takes a mere minute or less to pray. That realization was a turning point for me - it freed me from my false belief that I had to pray for hours over something in order to pray "seriously" about it.

Jesus said, When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask (Matthew 6:7-8, CEV). Then Jesus followed this comment up by teaching "The Lord's Prayer."

It's been my experience that most people feel less-than-expert when it comes to praying. The disciples did, that's why they were asking Jesus in Matthew chapter six to "teach us how to pray."

There is no shortage of help in the how-to-pray department. offers me nearly 400,000 books on "prayer" and another 24,000 on "how to pray." A few of these I've read. The latest one was E.M. Bounds on Prayer, while the very first one I read as a brand new Christian was Becky Tirabassi's Let Prayer Change Your Life. And who could forget the best-selling Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson? Hey, that was another power-packed short prayer.

If you've read a book that really revved up your prayer life, I would like to hear about it. Tell us the title, the author if you can remember, and most importantly, share what about it you found helpful.

KAREN, I'm so glad you gals enjoyed Jennifer Kennedy Dean's Live a Praying Life that I recommend. I hope you'll share with us some more of what you got out of that study!

So you know by now that I'm not one to make you feel like you have to spend hours in prayer every day to call yourself a Christian. In fact, what I see in the Bible is that God is more interested in frequency of prayer than in duration. Well, frequency coupled with faith. He wants us turning to Him through out the day, for all our needs. But not because He needs us to talk for hours convincing Him of our needs with many words - He already knows our needs before we ask, and He sees our hearts.

I believe He wants us to state our needs, and hand them over to Him with faith that He hears and will answer according to His perfect will. And then to rest and be grateful in that. And should we not see His answer right away, to not give up hope but be willing to persist praying for that with faith.

Let's look some more tomorrow at Jesus' prayer life - stay tuned.

PS. I love hearing yall's personal tips like praying while brushing your teeth, keeping a list at work, and writing on the bathroom mirror with erasable marker. :)


  1. You're right there are many old and new books on how to pray. I love your exercise and I agree we need something to fall back on when we are speechless. But prayer to me is like talking with the one you love.

    I don't see any books on how to talk to one another as lovers. Two people in love cannot stop talking. AS I sense God's love filling me I respond with love and I want to talk to Him about everything going on in my life. Is our prayerlife a reading of our love for Him and our comprehension of how much He loves us?

    As with all my relationships I have to pay close attention to staying connected to HIm. There are always things pulling my attention from HIm. But I have choices and disciplines to keep me (on Purpose) near in mind to HIm ... and talking/praying continually.

    Good messages here, Rachel. Thank you for the blessings.

  2. You had mentioned that we can use prayers out of a book when we don't know what to pray. I have learned that you don't need words all the time. Sometimes our spirit prays with groanings from within. When we don't know the english words, we have spiritual words which could be just that, moans, groans, and sighs.

    Like you said, God already knows what we are going to pray about. He know what is on our hearts. Sometimes the pain I am in concerning someone I am praying about brings such sorrow, grief, and deep desire for that person, that I don't have the words.

    There is no such book that can compare with heart filled and spirit filled prayer.

    I am truly enjoying this site. Only discovered it a few months ago. You are on my list of reads now.

  3. Here is the verse that talks about the spirit praying for us In Romans 8:26

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

  4. Rachel, I just loved the last paragraph of this post... the way you summed it up! It put it all in perspective for me.

    I love to pray while walking to pick my daughter up from's a long walk, but I choose the quiet blocks (I live in NYC...quiet blocks are hard to come by!) & just feel His presence & "talk" to him in my head. I usually pray throughout the day, but if it's a jampacked day & I "forget", it's during this walk that I ALWAYS remember to pray.

    Great series! Thanks, Rachel!
    Pat in nyc

  5. Speaking of prayer:
    please pray for my friend's son, his name is Jake, he is 8 years old. He just had his tonsils out on Monday, and he now has a temp of 102.9 and cultured positive for MRSA (a bad infection that unfortunately is showing up more and more.
    Her husband is not a Christian, and we have been praying a long time for him.
    Thank you for your prayers.

  6. Thoroughly enjoying your articles on prayer -- ask that you pray for me in my need for faith for my healing.


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